June 20, 2020
by Mr Kane
I am frustrated somewhat by the length of the communication I currently need to issue. Unfortunately, the complexity of the various aspects of re-opening necessitate lengthier correspondence than I would like. I thank you in advance for your patience.
Thank you for completing the return on sibling groups. We had issued two forms, the first in relation to primary age siblings and the second in relation to sibling groups within our school. While there was a clear willingness across our Education Group to consider arrangements across primary and secondary, the reality of coinciding the models used in six different schools only served to prove that it is not possible to devise a workable solution from P1 to S6. There were too many different combinations across family groups and schools to create any sort of meaningful plan across sectors. This is the case nationally and is not an issue unique to us or East Ayrshire Council.
The remainder of this message is specifically in relation to sibling groups where all siblings will attend St. Joseph’s Academy as of August.
Please note the following:
- We sincerely appreciate the information shared with us, as it has helped ensure that we can facilitate our planned model
- We disregarded any returns that did not relate to sibling groups within St. Joseph’s only, as the form was specifically around planning for siblings who will all attend St. Joseph’s Academy next session
- If you completed the form and indicated that a parent/carer will be at home across the full week, then we will not make further contact with you and will presume that young people will attend on their set days only
- If you completed the form and indicated that a parent/carer will be at home on specific days which coincide with when pupils will be at home, then we will not make contact in relation to those days (e.g. you are at home on a Tuesday, and have an S4 pupil and an S2 pupil, the S2 pupil would attend school as planned and the S4 pupil would remain at home with their parent/carer).
- If the school model already ensures that all young people from your household will attend on the same days, then we will not make further contact with you and will presume that young people will only attend on their set days
We will make contact with families where no adult is set to be at home and siblings are set to be split between school and home on any given day of the week. We hope to have called by Wednesday and will clarify arrangements then. If you have completed the form and have not heard from the school by Wednesday, please make contact either by emailing Mr Kane or by filling in the contact us form on our website.
We are also aware of the childcare pressure that re-opening will bring, both for staff working in schools and parents/carers. Unfortunately, childcare is outwith the scope of the school, and while we will pass on any emerging guidance at national or local level, we cannot offer in school childcare on days where every child from the same household is scheduled to be at home. In addition to this being outwith our scope, it is also the case that families with only one child at our school cannot be treated any more or less favourably than those with more than one child. If no children from a household are scheduled to be in school then it will not be possible for them to come to school on those days.
Childcare hubs will continue over summer, and it is my understanding that during summer, the Scottish Government will release clarity on childcare and key-worker status for August. East Ayrshire Council, having considered any such guidance, would then publish clarity on the location, access protocol, and form of any childcare provision on offer.
At the moment, employers are still advised to encourage home working, and the Scottish Government have asked for employers to demonstrate flexibility come August. It is clear the that the national picture keeps changing, and we know that any advice released over summer may alter individual family circumstances. As a fair starting point, both for families and the school, any arrangements in place now will stand for the first two weeks of term. If your circumstances change over summer, we will offer a follow up form during the first week of the new term and take things from there in week three onward.